Families struggling with the crisis of poverty are often isolated from sources of support and help. Family Development is a case management model support service offered to families as they strive toward short-range goals. During regular personal meetings, families and CMCA Family Development staff work together to identify strengths and opportunities that lead to long-term personal success.
Family Development services are designed to be intensive 12-week personal sessions that focus on barriers that prevent families from moving forward with whatever goal they are trying to achieve. Families must be motivated to work with Family Development staff, willing to identify personal, physical, financial and local barriers preventing goal achievement, develop strategies to move past those barriers and commit to the Family Development process.
Families may be referred to Family Development services by local, state and private organizations including schools, private agencies and other social service providers.
How do I become a better parent? How do I manage everything at once? Why does no one seem to hear me? These are some of the questions that all of us ask ourselves at one time or another. Through Life Skills Learning Opportunities, families with low income expand their knowledge, skills and expertise that can help them through difficult times. Utilizing the Building Strong Families curriculum, Life Skills classes are offered in a variety of topics including:
- Parenting/Family strengths
- Stress management
- Effective communication
- Balancing work and family
- and more
“Getting Ahead in a Just-Gittin’-By World” is a 36 hour curriculum developed by Dr. Phil DeVol that was written for individuals living in poverty. It provides a way to examine the impact that poverty has on individuals, families and their communities. Participants, known as “investigators” are guided by a facilitator as they do the work of exploring, examining, and processing information. The facilitator does not offer suggestions, solutions or analysis but rather encourages and supports the work of the investigators.
The sessions begin with the Investigators creating a mental model of what poverty is like in the community, something they know a great deal about. This forms the basis of the following investigations into housing, health issues, jobs, and conditions in the community. There are two story lines in Getting Ahead: One is the collective story of all people in poverty, and the other is the individual’s story. Investigators make a mental model about poverty in general, and then they make one about their own situation. The pattern continues as the Investigators do a self-assessment of their resources and then do an assessment of the community.
At the end of Getting Ahead, the Investigators make a detailed personal plan for building resources and a collective plan for how to create a prosperous community. Along the way the Investigators will work through modules on the theory of change for getting out of poverty, research on the causes of poverty, the hidden rules of economic class, the definition of poverty, the resources that are needed for a high quality of life, stages of change, and an investigation into how to develop resources. Investigators will explore and analyze the themes of their lives, assess their own resources, build their future stories, make their own choices, enjoy the power that comes from solving problems and controlling their own lives, make concrete plans for economic stability, and become skillful at using the hidden rules of class to build resources. To compensate for this work, Investigators are paid an hourly rate equal to the current minimum wage for their class time. Facilitators are Family Development Specialists who are certified in the “Getting Ahead” curriculum through Aha! Process, Inc.